Fake Like Me
She was the genius wild child of the New York art scene, and my idol.
I was a no-name painter from the Florida backwater, clawing my way into their world.
When she died, she left a space that couldn’t be filled. Except, maybe, by
Everything that gets created destroys something else.
When a fire rips through her studio and burns the seven enormous paintings for her next exhibition, a young, no-name painter is left with an impossible task: recreate her art in just three months – or ruin her fledgling career. Thirty-four, single and homeless, she desperately secures a place at an exclusive upstate retreat.
Brimming with creative history and set on a sparkling black lake, Pine City and its founders – a notorious collective of successful artists – is what she’s idolized all her life. She’s dreamt of the parties, the celebrities, the privilege. What she finds is a ghost of its former self.
The recent suicide of founding member Carey Logan haunts everyone, lurking beneath the surface like a shipwreck. And one thought begins to shadow her every move – what really happened to her hero?
When a no name artist arrives home to find her apartment on fire, her whole world shrinks to the few, meagre possessions she has in her bag. Her seven paintings, along with everything else she owned have been ripped apart. Bits of canvas float through the air, pieces of broken stands scatter across the street, puncturing a future she has worked so hard for. The seven paintings were to be for her next exhibition and she had everything pinned on it. Now, desperate to recreate them as quickly as possible, she manages to secure a place at secluded retreat. Pine City, a once sought after oasis for artists to escape and create. Named after the collective of men and women who set it up. Artists who were the most talked about few in the art scene before one of their members, Carey Logan, commit suicide. With such a short period of time to recreate the paintings, the artist is facing the near impossible. But her future isn’t set, as she is about to find out. Because despite pretending otherwise, she met Carey Logan many years ago, she looked up to her. Now, perhaps, she can be her.
Soon she is drawn into a private world of glamour and society, of wealth and cruelty, of rising artists and ruthless businessmen, where integrity is feeble and power and dominance is coveted. The parties are outlandish, drawing only the creme de la creme of society. The conversation is razor sharp, so sharp it can cut you. Loyalties are tested again and again. And the truth is breakable. All of this is in stark contrast to the artist’s private world of hunger, unwashed clothes, greasy hair and a mountainous workload.
Fake Like Me is a deliciously dark, compulsive read. I loved how emotionally complex the characters are, they possess so many different shades and so much nuance, it’s a fascinating journey to understand them and a tricky one to ever trust them. You don’t quite know what is going to happen next because they are so unpredictable. The Artist is an enigma. From the beginning, I was wondering what really made her tick and what sort of person she would be by the end of the book.
The author depicts the characters so beautifully. Her prose is bubbling with emotion, intrigue and a sly wit that is pure brilliance. This book records the high and lows, the rewards and sacrifices of having a passion and following it boundlessly. It’s about betrayal, truth, ambition and empowerment. It’s about so much more too. A wonderful book that offers not only a twisty thriller but a very fresh insight into the New York Art scene. Scintillating.
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About the Author
Barbara Bourland lives in Baltimore, MD. I’ll Eat When I’m Dead is her first novel. Formerly, she was a freelance writer for Forbes Traveler, Condé Nast Digital’s Concierge.com, and a web producer for O, The Oprah Magazine and OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network.